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Go Winnipeg, Go!

A letter from the Winnipeg Health Region

BY ARLENE WILGOSH
Winnipeg Health Region President & CEO
Wave, September / October 2011

Arlene Wilgosh

Like most Manitobans, I've sbeen excited about the return of the National Hockey League to Winnipeg.

I love it when people feel that rush of pride for this city. After all, there are lots of wonderful things happening here in our very own backyard.

But recently I realized that maybe not enough people know about the many ways we're punching above our weight.

As media outlets coast to coast took off with the "return of the Winnipeg Jets" storyline, I heard one reporter remark, "What does Winnipeg have to offer?" as though we don't measure up.

Instantly, that question got under my skin and stuck with me like a stubborn cold. I suppose that feeling lingered as long as it did because I completely disagree with what that one line insinuated.

Applying the health-care lens alone, there are many examples of local people and programs that are attracting attention from other parts of the country and North America.

Earlier this year, Mayo Clinic sent some members of its Radiation Oncology team to Winnipeg to see how our new paperless system at CancerCare Manitoba is working. We are a test site and one of the largest centres to integrate sophisticated radiation machine operating systems, scheduling programs and patient management Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) in a paperless function.

Since our radiation machine complement is the same as what is used by Mayo Clinic and because they're considering a move to the same setup as ours, they came here to learn from our experience.

Often quietly, many great things are happening in health care. Some of it comes in the form of new medical equipment, procedures and technology. There's also a wealth of expertise. Winnipeg is home to some incredible specialists and researchers involved in unique areas, like Dr. Lonny Ross, a plastic surgeon and Director of the Manitoba Centre for Craniofacial Differences at the Children's Hospital.

As you'll read in our cover story, Dr. Ross is literally changing lives. Drawing from his many years of experience studying around the world, he is able to help children overcome a list of facial differences, such as cleft palate and lip, Pierre Robin Sequence and Treacher Collins Syndrome. Children are able to access this specialized care close to home, rather than having to travel out of province for treatment.

As a mom, this kind of story resonates with me because I want every child to have the best chance at living their best life. The work being done by Dr. Ross and his team is giving children an opportunity for a fair and equal start in life, without having to deal with the challenges that come along with not having a normal appearance.

This issue of Wave also provides readers with a glimspe into some of the medical research going on in our community.

With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, many of us are thinking pink and feeling particularly tuned into the difficult battle that comes with that devastating diagnosis.

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, on average, 450 Canadian women are diagnosed with breast cancer every week, while it is expected that as many as 810 Manitoba women will develop breast cancer this year.

In this province alone, there are several hundred people working under the breast health arm, from service delivery to research. Behind the scenes, seven principal investigators at the Manitoba Breast Cancer Research Centre at the University of Manitoba's Faculty of Medicine are dedicated to uncovering new details about the disease. Great strides are being made in all areas of breast health.

Chances are, most people don't realize that there's such a large local effort involved in the fight against breast cancer. And even less would be aware of the research work that's going on. But you can find out more by checking out our feature story on the work of Dr. Leigh Murphy on page 18 of this issue of Wave.

These examples represent mere drops in the water bucket from a pool of resources and happenings that we should all feel proud of.

We'll continue to share some of the great things going on throughout the Winnipeg Health Region in Wave magazine. After all, sharing these stories, highlighting the strides that are being taken in health care is important. We have wonderful programs, services and expertise.

So, what is the answer to that question, "What does Winnipeg have to offer?" Simply put, a lot. So, Go Winnipeg, Go!

Wave: September / October 2011

About Wave

Wave is published six times a year by the Winnipeg Health Region in cooperation with the Winnipeg Free Press. It is available at newsstands, hospitals and clinics throughout Winnipeg, as well as McNally Robinson Books.

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